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Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 01/28/2011

All-Star buildup centers on Friday's fantasy draft

By Katie Carrera

Arguably the biggest buzz for this year's NHL All Star Weekend in Raleigh stems from the decision to move away from clearly defined, pre-selected teams to a fantasy draft with players doing the picking. The players for 'Team Staal' and 'Team Lidstrom' will be chosen Friday night at 8 p.m. in the draft which will be aired on Versus.

Post columnist Tracee Hamilton discussed the new format and the myriad of elements both sides might need to take into account when making their selections -- Do you pick a teammate first? A sibling (in Eric Staal's case)? A bitter rival?

The all-star draft is as eagerly anticipated as the game itself; both will be televised live on Versus. The words "National Hockey League" and "bright idea" don't always reside in the same sentence, but for their 58th All-Star Game, the NHL employed one of the greatest innovations since slow-motion replay, and a perfect gimmick to draw in new fans. Watching professional athletes pick and choose among their friends, teammates, rivals and enemies to form what they hope will be a winning team - please let this idea - used last summer by Women's Professional Soccer to select its all-star teams - spread throughout the land. Start with the Pro Bowl.
Green gets to avoid the draft because he and Vancouver's Ryan Kesler are Staal's co-captains. (Patrick Kane of Chicago and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay will assist Lidstrom.) Instead of sweating out the possibility of being the final name called - "That was my worst fear," Green said - he'll help Staal make the tough decisions.
So let's talk about priorities. Do you have to pick your teammates first? In Green's case, of course, that is Alex Ovechkin.

Check out the full column here. What would your draft strategy be? Assuming most Caps fans would elect to select Alex Ovechkin with the first overall pick, what would you do if you lost the coin flip?

By Katie Carrera  | January 28, 2011; 11:21 AM ET
Categories:  All-Star Game  
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Next: Ovechkin, Green miss flight to Raleigh

Comments

Does anyone really care about the All Star game and who picks whom when you have a team underperforming and hard to watch in the regular season?

Posted by: dull | January 28, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse

I've never cared for the All-Star game since I've been following hockey.

What's the point?

Posted by: jwash4472 | January 28, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

dull,
I care about it, I think a lot of people still do.

Ovechkin and Stamkos should go one and two. I would grab Tim Thomas as my first goalie.

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 28, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse

What's the point of hockey at all??

It's a game to showcase the best players in the league. It's entertaining.

Posted by: j3rockstar | January 28, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

At least we don't have to watch Cindy and his red lips as he leans in toward Staal (he has red lips too) to make a suggestion on an upcoming pick.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 28, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I am hoping that this game is very important for this team this season. I am hoping that one game without D coving him as tight as they have will allow AO to get some of his mojo back and boost his second half

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 28, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I would pick Matt Hendricks...

Need someone with some sandbpaper that will mix it up, and isnt afraid to drop the gloves.

Posted by: SA-Town | January 28, 2011 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Im of the belief that all All-Star games in every sport are pointless. They were important back in the day when all the games werent available via Center Ice on a nightly basis, but now there is no point. Everyone knows who the stars are and can see them play frequently enough.

I think there should be a break during the season at this time of year. Send all the players home for 4 days. Have it be the GM meetings right now. That will help solve a lot of issues in the league, give players rest, increase trade chatter and give GM's more time to make deals.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 12:20 PM | Report abuse

I saw this quote in an article about the upcoming trade deadline and why it is difficult to make a trade until the deadline.

"Each team in the mix has issues, whether it be goaltending, defense, offense, not enough grinders, no veteran leadership, no playoff experience... everyone has an issue. Couple that with the fact that everyone wants to fix that problem for as little as possible, and it makes for a bunch of GMs looking for answers and not many GMs willing to solve them."

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse

The all-star game is lame and always has been. It's not hockey, it's a pick-up game played by multi-millionaires who float around without a care or concern in the world. Frankly, I'd rather watch Middlebury v. Norwich (two Div. III college teams) instead of the NHL All-Star Game.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 28, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

If the Caps are unable to pick up a center by the trade deadline, how about they bring Nylander back. He's still under contact.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Fellas...I'm trying to bring the WP message board conversation over to the-mainboard.com. Started a Capitals thread over there that I think has potential.Register and start chatting.There are quite a few Caps fans over there already. Lets build a huge thread.And no, im not affiliated with TMB....

Posted by: The850 | January 28, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

@sgm3

I hope that was a joke because he broke his neck a couple months ago.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

why is mike green on an all-star team????

Posted by: doughless | January 28, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

I hope that was a joke because he broke his neck a couple months ago.

Posted by: ThePat

Yes it was a joke, but I didn't realize that he broke his neck. Is he okay, meaning not paralyzed or anything?

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Not paralyzed. He had surgery and everything appears fine with his rehab as far as I know.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 1:00 PM | Report abuse

Gare Joyce wrote an article predicting the 2015 All-Stars (the article was only about young players who are not yet established as All-Stars in the NHL). Here's what he had to say about Kuzentsov who he had on the 1st line with Seguin and Hall.

"An absolute breakout performance at the world juniors makes the 18-year-old Kuznetsov arguably the easiest choice on the board. He took shifts at center in that tournament and it's a testament to his talent that he made it look like he had played there all his life. The Washington Capitals did their homework before they spent their pick late in the first round last year on Kuznetsov -- if they manage to get him in the fold after next season, they'll deserve an A grade for their foresight."

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 1:01 PM | Report abuse

@doughless,

Improvement in his own end and offensive reputation.

If you're a two-time Norris finalist, you're gonna get that courtesy.

(Or was that a rhetorical question? I don't think anyone is unaware that he - along with his teammates - is not lighting it up this year.)

Posted by: stevie_in_gp | January 28, 2011 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I think the Winter Classic has far overshadowed the All-Star Game in terms of publicity value for the NHL. The only all-star game that was ever all that worthwhile was the baseball all-star game, and that was because it was the only time, other than spring training and the World Series, that the two leagues faced each other. That tradition was lost in 1997 and it took away most of the significance of the game, other than the game being a longstanding tradition in a sport that used to adhere very strongly to traditions.

But look, I'll give the NHL credit for trying something new, just as I think the NFL deserved some credit last year for experimenting with the Pro Bowl to try to raise its profile. (Recall they played in Miami, which flopped, and moved it to the week before the Super Bowl, which didn't help raise its profile but perhaps reduced the "anticlimax" feeling the game used to have coming after the Super Bowl.) As others have said, the real problem is that it's always been, and always will be, a glorified exhibition game. Maybe the league ought to make the All-Star Game the outdoor showcase, similar to the KHL playing their first all-star game in Red Square a few years ago. Setting-wise, that was the grandest of all the outdoor games, even though seating was very limited. The view of Pittsburgh from Heinz Field, or of Wrigleyville in Chicago, simply cannot hold a candle to seeing St. Basil's and the Kremlin towering over the rink.

To give a backhanded answer to Katie's question: I know what I would NOT do with my first pick. I would not pick a goalie. Goaltending has never been of major importance in the all-star game except in Rendez-vous '87 in Quebec City (but there, it was a North American pride issue against the Soviets). Given the importance of offense in this game due to reduced physicality, I might try to go for either a fast winger or for a faceoff man who can feed the fast winger.

Posted by: 1995hoo | January 28, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Haven't done this in a while, but I think there may be some interest in the Japers' Rink Radio podcast tomorrow morning. Our guest is going to be Damien Cox. A nice follow-up to our show last week with James Mirtle and Matt Hendricks.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | January 28, 2011 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of the All Star game, I'd like to recommend this news story in today's South Jersey Courier Post on the NHL's best coach, Peter Laviolette, one of the assistants for the game in Raleigh (and led the Hurricanes to their only Cup, in '06). THIS is what a successful head coach looks like. http://www.courierpostonline.com/article/20110128/SPORTS04/101280322/Laviolette-full-of-fire-brimstone

Posted by: Exile_in_Philly | January 28, 2011 1:42 PM | Report abuse

@ Freakin

I'll definitely be listening.

Also, I thought that was a very good Semin contract debate today in the comments as well.

Posted by: Fro_2 | January 28, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Another Tracee Hamilton piece.

I grew up reading Kornheiser and Wilbon. Man has the WaPo has fallen.

Posted by: gandorfdapirate | January 28, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Another Tracee Hamilton piece.

I grew up reading Kornheiser and Wilbon. Man has the mighty WaPo fallen.

Posted by: gandorfdapirate | January 28, 2011 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Anybody who has ever drafted a fantasy hockey team should love this format. I think it's awesome.

My first pick would be Rick Nash. He has 10 points in the past 3 all-star games, and is my favourite player not wearing a Caps uniform.

My first defenceman would be Byfuglien. He is in a bit of a slump now, but the guy is awesome.

My first goalie would be Lundqvist.

Posted by: Aldred15 | January 28, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

@Fro_2,

I actually really enjoy Damien Cox, part of the reason we asked to have him on again. Pepper is on board with that assessment as well. He is provacative, but that is part of his job as a columnist.

I get some of the outrage directed his direction, but the stuff about the Semin deal seems to be more about who wrote it than what was written. Seemed pretty spot on to me.

I'm interested to hear the response to the appearance, because some of the anger we got about the head shot discussion with Mirtle last week...well I can just imagine what Cox is going to cause knowing how people feel about him. hahaha.

Posted by: freakinandpeakin | January 28, 2011 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the Caps should hold an "all star" type scrimmage at Verizon Center this weekend. Except instead of using actual star players, the game would be played by all of the mediocre/insignificant/minor league players that so many moronic caps fans are inexplicably in love with and who's jerseys they spent tons of $$ on.

Chris Clark could be one of the captains. Tomas Fleischmann can be towel boy.

At the end of the game there can be a ceremony where the Actual Dale Hunter is dipped in bronze and placed out on F St. so that he may be endlessly worshipped.

They can have a carnival where for $5 Fans can hug Olie Kolzig while crying on each other's shoulders.

Posted by: LesGrossman | January 28, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

My first offensive player would be: I don't care. My first goalie would be: I don't care. My first defenseman would be: I really don't care. The NHL All-star game & the Pro Bowl are the same weekend! How about some no-check hockey & touch football. Wow, must watch TV.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 28, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Hamilton is for people who don't know or like sports. It seems like every article has some sort of primer on the content and background info.

Posted by: GFisher1 | January 28, 2011 2:32 PM | Report abuse

My fondest All-Star game memory was the year Stevens was selected to play in the game for the first time. Does everybody remember the debate as to whether or not Scott would be able to tone his game down and not hit anyone? That was awesome....could the fearsome machine actually amp-it-down and not hurt anyone in the showcase event? That's reputation!! And who could forget Probert lacing them up, too? Man, those were the good'ole days....

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 28, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

The NHL All-star game & the Pro Bowl are the same weekend! How about some no-check hockey & touch football. Wow, must watch TV.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 28, 2011 2:25 PM | Report abuse

So sad, yet so true...

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 28, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to be the guy who has to try to dip Dale Hunter in the bronze cauldron.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 28, 2011 2:54 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to be the guy who has to try to dip Dale Hunter in the bronze cauldron.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 28, 2011 2:54 PM

They've signed Pierre Turgeon to do that.

Posted by: tominsocal1 | January 28, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I'd hate to be the guy who has to try to dip Dale Hunter in the bronze cauldron.

Posted by: kcbrichmond

At least you wouldn't have to worry about ruining any of his championship rings.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 3:17 PM | Report abuse

And thinking of this ASG draft, I hope Ovi gets picked last. Maybe that'd wake him up. (I think someone posted the same suggestion much earlier) For those who don't remember, the debate over whether #3 Stevens could tone it down for the game was very real. His intense, physical, mean play EVERY SHIFT left no doubt that he was hardwired differently than everyone else. Simply put, it was conceiveable that Stevens was incapable of playing any other way.

And up until this year, I thought Ovechkin was hardwired like Stevens, albeit with different circuits. Ovi displayed the same intense desire and determination almost every game. But this year? That overt drive and determination has been nonexistant. To say it's been a bad year for Ovi to this point would be a huge understatement.

It's very disconcerting to think that Ovi is losing his passion and commitment to the game. From missing the optional practices to insinuated drinking exploits to questions about his captaincy, something just isn't right. NOTHING WAS EVER WRONG WITH SCOTT STEVENS, and it troubles me as I hope it troubles others, too. BB? New system? Fame? Passion? Who knows....

Since Ovi won't get picked last by his team, and because we all know BB is safe through the year (I won't stop railing though, don't worry), maybe the team should eliminate one added burden on Ovi's shoulders and go to an alternating "Captain-Alternates" on a 2-game basis. Simply explain to Ovi that we need him to focus on scoring goals and not necessarily the overall state of the team.

Reference how it helped Marleau in SJ, and explain how the change could promote team cohesion with everyone feeling a little more vested in the outcome of games. It would necessitate that EVERYONE become a leader, each player required to stand up and lead (and yes, that includes DJK!). Barring any trade, and no coaching change, I think it would be a clear message that it's time to start playing with some urgency and desperation.

Posted by: vermontcaps | January 28, 2011 3:21 PM | Report abuse

The ONLY all-star game still worth watching is the mid-summer classic because they still play D, pitching being 80% of D in baseball. There's always some drama seeing the best hitters facing off against the best pitchers.

The rest are a complete waste of time.

Posted by: joek443 | January 28, 2011 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Ovi and Green missed their flight down to Raleigh so they are going to be a little late. I'd say Im shocked....but yeah Im not at all.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Ovi and Green missed their flight down to Raleigh so they are going to be a little late. I'd say Im shocked....but yeah Im not at all.

Posted by: ThePat

Seriously? Where did you hear this?

They are going to get ripped by the announcers if they are late to the draft.

Posted by: sgm3 | January 28, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

ThePat
Are you serious? What were they hanging out with the pilots in the bar? More likely the flight attendants..."Do you know who I am? A big time hockey player!". I hope they score better with them than they have on the ice.

Posted by: kcbrichmond | January 28, 2011 4:21 PM | Report abuse

@ThePat. According to TSN their flight was delayed as was Kane's they didn't miss thier flights.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 28, 2011 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Their flight has finally taken off and they, at least Green and Ovie, are on their way to NC now anyway.

Posted by: icehammer97 | January 28, 2011 4:47 PM | Report abuse


they missed their flight. They were at the airport in time, just didnt get to the gate in time. So in that sense they are delayed in getting to NC.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Steve Levy from ESPN is the one who said they missed their original flight and got on a second one. And he reported it 45 minutes before TSN had anything on it. So who knows what the truth is, regardless they are delayed in getting there.

Posted by: ThePat | January 28, 2011 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Ovie & Green missed their flight. They thought it was the net on a PP.

Posted by: chriscaps | January 28, 2011 5:41 PM | Report abuse

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